2020 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Nancy Oswald, University of Florida (Warrington)

Nancy Oswald

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

“I strive to achieve success for my team through cooperative communication, respect, and a willingness to listen to innovative ideas.”

Age: 50

Hometown: Holmdel, NJ

Fun fact about yourself: I completed the “11 days, 11,000 miles” Iron Butt Rally motorcycle competition twice!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Montclair State University (at the time, College) Major Geoscience, Minor Mathematics

Where are you currently working? Otis Elevator Company, Project Manager

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud of the guidance I provide to new employees toward their developing knowledge and confidence by sharing my knowledge and providing encouragement and recognition of their accomplishments.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? The University of Florida is routinely ranked a top online program. The folks in the MBA office were exceedingly kind and helpful when I made my initial inquiries, so I knew I’d found the program for me.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I needed and loved the schedule flexibility. I could watch a lecture and do my assignments anytime that was convenient for me.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I am most surprised by the close friendships that I developed. I have a group of friends now who are life-long. Of the four, I have only met one in-person (so far!). But we are friends for life.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? I’m a bit more, ahem, mature than I was as an undergraduate and I believe the biggest differences are due to that rather than the format. I really appreciated being able to rewind a lecture and not have distractions from other students in class. I’m a fairly social person, so I expected to feel a loss at not having personal interaction with classmates, but that was a non-issue. Most of my classmates were very friendly, and we had a great deal of interaction outside class. 

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Connect with your classmates right away! Start a group chat via whatever medium you feel is appropriate. Be polite and respectful, of course, but be friendly and open as well. You will be amazed at the friendships you develop!

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I wish all classes had scheduled office hours with the instructor. Having that face time with the instructor was really helpful in feeling engaged in the course. I definitely felt the loss when that wasn’t available. However, I will add, for the faculty that didn’t have scheduled office hours, I knew I could always reach out to them to request one and they would be more than willing to schedule.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? I feel much more informed of why some business decisions that might seem strange on the surface are made. Previously, I didn’t always see “the big picture.” I also feel confident when reviewing financial results and competent in understanding the relative importance of various metrics. My very first course, Professional Writing, was probably the most impactful course of all!

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? University of Florida promises transformation during the program. I am absolutely transformed in very unexpected ways. Some of which didn’t have much to do with the program, but I believe that my reactions and responses to external events are more measured – more thoughtful, reasoned, and consistent because of the program. I feel led to shift my focus from driven solely by money-making to truly benefiting others. I don’t know where that will go, but I am looking forward to the future!

Don’t Miss: The Entire Honor Roll of the Best & Brightest Online MBA Grads of 2020

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